Budget Paper No.6 1997/98 Northern Territory Economy
Tabled Paper 3223
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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generally not reflected in the Territorys commercial finance commitments data as the amounts are more than likely to be borrowed outside the Territory). The slowdown in commercial finance commitments may also reflect both the increased demand for, and willingness by, local financial institutions to lend money to home buyers in an environment of low real interest rates, good profit margins and strong market competition for mortgage lending. Lease finance, which comprises a small proportion of total business finance in the Territory, increased by 24.2% during 1996 to $52.4 million. Business Registrations The Northern Territory Office of Business Affairs compiles data on the registration of new business names. Changes in the number of new business name registrations is a reasonable indicator of economic activity and business confidence. From July 1996 to January 1997, the number of new business names registered in the Territory was 2 091 compared to 2 464 for the same period a year earlier, a decrease of 15.1%. This slow down in new business name registrations is consistent with a slowing in economic growth over the same period. Commercial Office Vacancy Rates The Australian Valuation Office (Darwin) publishes quarterly commercial office accommodation data for major centres throughout the Territory, namely Darwin CBD, Casuarina, Darwin suburbs, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs. Table 7.1 shows that the weighted average vacancy rate declined from 9.1% in 1996 to 7.5% in 1997, with declines in vacancy rates recorded in most centres. The greatest decline was recorded in Darwin suburbs as available office space in Darwin CBD and Casuarina becomes increasingly limited, and the increased demand for office space moves out to these areas. Palmerston and Katherine recorded slight increases in office vacancy rates to 6.7% and 14.0% respectively. Total gross lettable area in the Territory expanded 3.9% over the twelve months to February 1997. The largest increases in gross lettable area occured in Darwin suburbs and Table 7.1 Commercial Office Vacancy Rates 1996 1997 % % Alice Springs 6.8 4.1 Casuarina 2.6 0.1 Darwin CBD 9.0 7.3 Darwin Suburbs 29.0 23.6 Katherine 10.7 14.0 Palmerston 5.1 6.7 Weighted Average 9.1 7.5 Source: Australian Valuation Office Business Conditions 36
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